10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

By JAN SEARS
The Press-Enterprise

University of Redlands Chancellor and former President James Appleton was named interim president Wednesday, a day after the sudden resignation of Stuart Dorsey left the campus and community in shock and confusion.

Some on campus expressed relief that Appleton, who was president for 18 years and became chancellor in 2005, was available to guide the university through its current economic difficulties.

The university is struggling to cut $6 million to $7 million from its budget and could see faculty layoffs in its College of Arts and Sciences.

Appleton could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In a prepared statement, he said, “I did not anticipate this call but accept the challenge of leading the university at this important time.

“In the near term we must resolve the immediate issues of finance and budget and ensure an exciting completion of this academic year for our students and faculty,” he said.

seen as sudden

Dorsey also couldn’t be reached. Others speculated that his decision to resign had come suddenly. Dorsey held a long meeting with about 250 students Monday evening to discuss budget issues and potential layoffs and became somewhat emotional at the end, an article in the current issue of The Bulldog, the campus newspaper, states.

Brett Lewis, co-editor of the campus paper, attended the meeting.

“Toward the end, he appeared very close to tearing up,” he said Wednesday. Lewis works part time at The Press-Enterprise.

Dorsey resigned the next morning.

Keith Osajima, director of race and ethnic studies at the university, said faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, which would bear brunt of the budget cuts, had just presented ideas for saving money and jobs to the administration.

“The College of Arts and Sciences took some proposals to the dean, and we were just beginning those conversations. That’s where we were on Monday,” Osajima said.

He said he considers Dorsey a “decent human being who got caught up in a lot of circumstances that in some ways were beyond his control.”

Charlotte Burgess, vice president and dean of student life, said she thought Appleton’s appointment would restore confidence.

“Jim Appleton brings excellent experience and significant credibility. If we have to be in this situation, he’s certainly a very strong leader,” she said. “I think people feel that we have a plan and that we’re moving forward.”

Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueermann is a U of R graduate whose parents are alumni and whose son now attends the university.

‘step right in’

“I think anybody who cares about the University of Redlands feels very fortunate that Jim Appleton is still around and willing to come back,” Bueermann said. “He will step right into that leadership role.”

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